A modest cartoonist who prefers to work outside the political bubble has today (December 6) been named Cartoonist of the Year at the Museum of Australian Democracy by musician Tim Freedman from The Whitlams.
Hobart cartoonist Jon Kudelka, who said he tried to have no tickets on himself “or I might get cartooned,” told the assembled media that while he considered himself a part of the “Fourth Estate”, he preferred to stay on the outside as an observer. Fortunately, he said, as a cartoonist, all he needed were pen and paper.
The director of MoAD, Daryl Karp, handed over a cheque to the value of $5,000 and a framed version of Kudelka’s hero image for this year’s exhibition, “Behind the Lines: The year’s best political cartoons,” which opened today.
Karp, for her part, praised the fearlessness of Australian cartoonists saying, “you are our conscience,” while recommending the annual exhibition as “funny, bleak.”
Before making the awaited announcement, Freedman confessed that he’d been an aficionado of cartooning since age 11 when he had seen daily pictures of doomed prime minister Gough Whitlam as a chook losing its feathers.
“When the cartoonists say you’re going down, you’re going down,“ he remarked.
He also told those present of his unsuccessful attempt to get Whitlam to make him a knight as he’d done for Dame Edna Everage.
With the theme of “The Greatest Hits Tour”, this year’s exhibition includes works by Kudelka, Pat Campbell, John Shakespeare, Cathy Wilcox and Mark Knight – 30 cartoonists in all.
The exhibition, curated by Jennifer Forest, is divided into several sections, including “Battle Of The Bands“ (the election campaign) and “Back By Popular Demand” (the re-election of the the Coalition).
The Gold Stanley for Cartoonist of the Year will be presented to Kudelka at the 35th annual Stanley Awards at Old Parliament House, tomorrow Saturday, December 7.
“Behind the Lines: The year’s best political cartoons” opens today at the Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House, and runs daily 9am–5pm (closed Christmas Day).